GCHQ and the NSA are raiding the datastream.

by Words and Chaos

The fist post is going to be about politics. I was hoping for something less heavy, but OK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa?CMP=twt_gu

What did they find? The internet likes porn? Tumblr’s full of whiny people who are obsessed with that bloke from Dr. Who, Deviantart is full of furries, reddit is the most hilarious collection of neckbeards ever seen, and 4chan is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Also Dwarf Fortress is the future Skynet. The following is mostly ad-hoc, probably badly informed, and based on personal observations dealing with the UK. Take it with a handful of salt.

In all seriousness, people should be somewhat pissed at this, but it’s not a case of ‘this is bad’ as much as it is a case of “What the do we do about it?”

We should know precisely what this spying is going towards, what they actually have access to, what they’re doing with the information, and how it benefits us. If it doesn’t benefit us then either the people react to this, or we all stay static and grumpy and the invasion gets increasingly worse as we grow increasingly apathetic and accepting of it. That’s something we’ve become really good at, myself included.

The people either act or they don’t. But I’m not entirely sure how they are supposed to act or what they’re supposed to be acting for. The obvious instinct is just to become blindingly enraged and Molotov a bunch of government organisations in response. But how does that help us? Not only is that a fairly stupid idea, mostly based on fantasy, but also the last time we attempted violent political protest we demonstrated that we weren’t remotely good at it. We weren’t interested in the targets we apparently hate. Supposedly London went nuts because of the bankers. Did anybody attack a bank? Nope. Instead we raided footlocker and a Nandos, and then burnt a fucking mattress store. Nice one, London.

We’re still not supposed to blame the bankers. They have yet to pay a single penny back to the economy they ruined, and the people who bailed them out (was anybody actually given a choice in the matter?) yet persist in awarding themselves giant bonuses. But we’re not allowed to bash the poor bankers, because they’re so fragile behind their giant fortresses of money.

Would peaceful protests and marching, etc, have any effect on a bunch of spooks? I don’t know. Do they care about what the public think? Probably not. More importantly, do we have the bigger picture? Probably not.

There’s the world stage to think about: The UK is a former world dominating power that is now trying to match pace with the United States of America, China and everywhere else. We don’t really have too many resources, so unless anyone’s interested in revisiting the empire, it seems like a ‘take what you can get’ situation – which is apparently something we’re very good at because taking what we can get has kept us in some form of political clout. I’m not a humanitarian and I’ve never pretended I was one. I’m pretty damn sure we don’t want the UK to fall too far behind on the world stage. As to what that means in terms of liberal values… I couldn’t say. 

We lack the information required for good action. I suppose then that if we truly wanted to do anything about it, other than use it as an excuse to get pissed off and then piss off down the pub, we’d need to hack the hackers – on both sides of the pond. I’m not saying anybody should trust them, but long story short: If you don’t know what’s really going on, then you can’t act in any effective manner.

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